Song Title: “If Love Was a Crime”
Artist: Poli Genova
Second Semi-Final: Position 121
Last year’s entry: Did not compete
Bulgaria! I’m pretty sure if you ask me six months from now what my favorite song from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was, I would say “If Love Was a Crime” by Poli Genova with zero hesitation.
My love for this track has grown so much since last we chatted about it, and I was fully on-board with the song then. I had to be careful not to go full Lip Sync for Your Life while listening to it at work the other day. On my way to the coffee shop where I am writing this post, the song came up on my ESC 2016 playlist and I may have switched over to repeat mode until the walk was over. This might also be the video I have watched most on Eurovision’s YouTube channel. The song is catchy, current, and fills me with the joys.
So, how will Poli Genova fare in the second semi-final? In terms of the field, there is the challenge of standing out among all the female soloists, including Serbia, Australia, and Ukraine. Romania’s disqualification complicates this a touch, since that shifts the running order so that Poli Genova follows Dami Im and ManuElla, rather than getting the break that would have been provided by Ballet Westeros.
Another complication is that Bulgaria’s main vote benefactors are either not competing (Turkey) or vote in the first semi-final (Greece, Cyprus, Spain). FYR Macedonia and Albania may be able to help as neighbors, but Western Europe and the former SSRs make up most of the rest of the field. Although Poli Genova received rave reviews for hosting last year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest, many of those participants (and therefore viewers) were from countries that are in the first semi-final.
The good news? Bulgaria may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new split voting system. As long as Bulgaria doesn’t overproduce the stage performance2, I can see juries rewarding “If Love Was a Crime” for being a fully realized and executed song. If viewers don’t forget the song from being buried in the lineup, there should be enough support to boost this entry.
All of Team telESCope’s indicators — oddsmakers, YouTube views, and our personal rankings — point toward Poli Genova bringing Bulgaria to its second Eurovision final. It would be a crime if “If Love Was a Crime” didn’t qualify.